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Books – Review of Charlatans by Robin Cook – 2017 – Truly Disappointing Read

by AniM
charlatans by robin cook book cover
Charlatans by Robin Cook book cover

Book Review of Charlatans – Very Disappointing Book

My Rating – 2.5 out of 5

Plot Summary – Charlatans

Then, as Noah would say, the shit hit the fan. On two occasions, he was hauled before the Residency Advisory Board, which was particularly embarrassing since he sat on the board, as voted by his fellow residents, and hence had to recuse himself.

Robin Cook in Charlatans

 From the author who pioneered the medical thrillers genre, the latest offering is Charlatans. I had a lot of hope when I picked this up to read, only for them to be cruelly dashed by the time I reached midway… The heart of the book is in the right place, he questions the morality of the Nutritional Supplement industry lobbying the US Govt. for lenient acceptance of their flawed offerings, of Doctors in collusion with lobbying groups, of Doctors not being who they seem to be…It’s just that the brain is not where it should be.

Confused and loose storytelling makes you wonder, is this the Robin Cook who gave us Coma? Or Sphinx?  Question raised : How many of us have ever wondered that whether the framed degrees/certificates on our Doctor’s walls are genuine or not? The ever increasing influence of the digital world makes it all too easy for Charlatans to play our well-entrenched beliefs and convictions….

The chief protagonists of the novel, Dr. Noah Rothauser and Dr. Ava London get to know each other through a series of Q&A sessions (!!) right till the middle of the book. Dr. Rothauser, rather glibly, believes all that he’s told, even when the statements should seem contradictory and obfuscatory to even dimwits. Three deaths in the story are never explained to their logical conclusion. A lot of dramatic elements have been added which add nothing to the narrative.

For a Hospital of the stature of Boston Memorial Hospital, for three deaths emanating from the same cause and the same anesthesiologist being attached to all three should have led to strict disciplinary action, pending investigation. But, here the CMO investigates, while having a relationship with the Doctor under investigation! The fantastic stories told by Dr. London would have raised the hackles of a teenager also but here is the good Dr. Rothauser, believing every word of it!! Then there are two other characters who are supposedly FBI agents but act as villains… Confusing, childish and at times downright silly!!!

charlatans by robin Cook alt book cover
Charlatans by Robin Cook alt book cover

Conclusion of Charlatans Book Review

At the end, it all comes together in a flash, as if Robin Cook suddenly realized his quota of pages are nearly over and the story climaxes over three pages and there you are, left unsatisfied and wondering. Overall, a book, in my opinion, you can happily miss reading. Would love to hear the opinion of real life medical professionals in this group, if they have or plan to read it.

After having read many of Robin Cook’s earlier novels, one does get the feel that in a real life hospital where a whole lot of medical professionals operate, it would be near impossible for someone to carry on so brazenly for so long, without any interventions, or even attempts at it. Like for every critical process which affect the life of humans, there are a whole lot of checks and balances, and all of them cannot be subverted at the same time. I almost feel like telling the author to go back and rewrite it again, because I know he’s far better than this…

charlatans author robin cook
Charlatans Author Robin Cook

*Thank you for reading my review of Charlatans, please keep watching this space for more such reviews*

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